NOTE: I wrote first part of this post nearly TWO YEARS ago but did not publish it for some reason. It's hard to believe that it's been that long that I have been "preparing" to take down and repair the SteppIR!
===== Previously unpublished info follows =====
Today (7 August 2013) was the day I began preparing to take down the SteppIR and repair/modify it. I took a hike over the hill at 11:30 a.m. The temperature was 79° and the humidity was 63% so it was not the most pleasant day for this work. Still, we had not experienced any rain for a few days so things were dry.
|Weed-eating to Clear the Work Area|
The first thing I did was to trim around the tower and blow off the leaves and junk that had accumulated there. I carefully pulled up the excess cables so I did not cut anything I did not want to cut. Then it was just swinging the weed-eater back and forth. Every so often the line would wrap around a bush and break and I had to shut off the weed-eater and fix the line.
|End of Day No. 1|
The picture at the upper left shows the work in progress. You can see a stump that is tall enough to serve as a seat. Basically the weeds were between 2 and 2-1/2 feet tall. In the photo on the right, you can see how the tower area is now cleared. The small bushes need to be taken out with some clippers and I may put the grandsons onto that project.
While I was there I noticed that a grapevine has grown up the upper guy line on to the North. That guy will be dropped when the SteppIR comes down so that grapevine can be cleared then. Next I need to measure the space I have cleared to see if it is enough to contain the SteppIR. If not, I may have to take out some more bushes with a chainsaw to the NW of the tower.
Other items that need attention include pulling up the control line and RG-6 cable that run to the Beverage Hub so that they do not get damaged while the antenna work is being performed. Also, the elevated radials for the 160-M Inverted-L need to be rolled up. Installation of the top guy line to the NW needs to be completed. The wires at the base of the tower need to be cleaned up so they do not get in the way. Once that is done I can pull the 1/2-inch Heliax up to the top of the tower for measurement then cut it and install a connector on that end. This will be the 6-M feedline and you can see it coiled up in the photo on the right.
Total time spent on the project today was just under 3 hours including the installation of trimmer line and cleanup of the tools and boots. Still, I'm pretty tired and need to rest before going over the hill again.
===== End of previously unpublished info =====
On a later date the grandsons DID go over the hill along with Evelyn and they removed the small bushes and finished the initial cleanup. I think they also sprayed extensively with Roundup to prevent the undergrowth from returning.
Fast Forward to July 1, 2015, and the grandsons are back on the brush clearing project! This time they are two years older and can run the weed eaters themselves. They REALLY jumped into this job big-time and cleared the area around the tower in record time!
|Owen Clearing the NE Guy Anchor|
|Grant Lopping Small Trees|
I did not keep close track of the time but it seems like we only spent about two to two and a half hours and in that time the boys had completely cleared the area around the tower and cut a path to the Northeast and the South guy wires. I had to go back up to the garage and bring back the chainsaw to complete the clearing of a path to the South guy wire.
We eventually ran one weedeater out of gas and the other one ran out of string and that was the point where we decided to call it quits for the day. Back on the patio it was time to down another bottle of Gatorade and try to cool off before hitting the showers. On the left you can see how Owen looked with weed litter all over him! (Click on any photo to see a larger image.)
|Owen Covered in Weed Litter|
|Bringing Home the BIG Heliax|
As the years progress for me, having these two grandsons to help with projects like this is FANTASTIC! Thanks, guys!